Batchelder back on campus eight years after Trump harassment


Lauren Batchelder visits Saint Anselm College to protest Trump town. (Courtesy/AP)

Kathryn Williams, Editor in Chief

In 2015, a Saint Anselm student asked a presidential candidate a question about women’s rights. Eight years later, his supporters continue to harass her. Lauren Batchelder ’18 shared her frustration that the college is welcoming former President Donald Trump back on campus and worries about history repeating itself.

Once the college announced the CNN Town Hall with Trump, an outpouring of disapproval came from many students, faculty, and friends of the college. Lauren Batchelder’s name began circulating social media and once again she received hateful comments and tweets. “This follows me everywhere, it’s like my shadow… from what I’ve heard I have an FBI file,” she explained.

President Favazza has stated in multiple emails that Saint Anselm College is an impartial player in the event and welcomes Trump for the sake of the rich democratic tradition the college prides itself on. 

“Would you let a member of a hate group rent out a space on campus and then claim you’re not complicit? Silence is violence” Batchelder said.  

“To just say, ‘Oh, well, we’ve been doing this for 60 years,’ well look where we are as a country. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on how we got here. And maybe it is by allowing people like Trump to say whatever they want whenever they want without consequences,” she continued.

Batchelder was told she was not allowed on campus for security reasons, as everyone on campus was required to have an Anselm ID or press credentials. “I had reached out to one of the students who had been organizing the protests to see if she needed anything,” she explained. “ I found out because one of my professors reached out and was like, ‘do you know that you’re banned from this today?’”

Despite the college’s assurance of tight security, Batchelder was able to make it on campus to attend the ‘teach in.’ “I’m not thrilled to be here, I thought that we were done,” she said to the room. She shared her story with the group, saying “Donald Trump was the epitome of all my pain.”

Batchelder explained how Trump is like the Wizard of Oz, in such that the worry is less about him but more about the power he has and what his supporters will do. “I’ve heard from professors that they have been asking what the school plans to do if a student asks a question and it doesn’t go well. From what I’ve heard, the school hasn’t given an answer” she said.

After Trump’s 2015 tweet about Batchelder went viral, she shared how many people on campus helped support her but the institution itself did not. She shared that administration and donors were not happy with the fallout and didn’t want her on campus. “It was never explicitly said to me, but it was made known to me in a variety of ways that if stepped one foot out of line there would be consequences,” she said.

Batchelder is wrapping up her first year as a law student at Boston University, where she says her eyes have been opened about just how absent Saint Anselm College was for her. “From the very beginning, the administration has said they want to support me. Even when Trump announced he was running again, I was meeting with the dean who told me all the ways the school could help me and make me feel safe,” she said.

She expressed her thanks for the students and faculty who were there for her during this difficult time. “When Professor Holder invited me to the honors program, he saved me from dropping out of school… Professor Thorn organized a gift basket…so many professors carried me through this,” she said.

President Favazza spoke out against Trump’s actions towards Batchelder in 2015. “The fact that a candidate for President would attack a first year college student on social media for asking an honest question underscores that this candidate has no regard to the power differential between himself and anyone else,” he said. “It also speaks to the total lack of respect he has shown towards women throughout his career that has now culminated with his being liable for the sexual abuse and defamation,” he continued.